Willy Porter, Twice

What? You haven’t seen Willy Porter yet? You don’t know who he is? You’re missing out, pal. I got to see him for the second (and third, actually) time today. First, he gave an in-store appearance at Twist and Shout Underground in the afternoon and played several songs, among them a trademark improvised song about the store itself. He ended the set with a solo acoustic version of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” (Yes, the whole song, complete with key and rhythm changes.) Afterward, my wife and I got to meet him as he was signing a CD for us. Great guy. Really great guy.

This evening, we watched him perform at the Soiled Dove to a standing room only crowd. We were the first people at the venue, so we got seats exactly where we wanted: right at the edge of the stage. Willy was amazing, working the cheesehead-friendly crowd in between songs while he coaxed his guitar into alternate tunings. He played two guitars on stage, an old Bischoff with cracks in the finish and a very warm, aged sound. The other was a seemingly new Guild cutaway model, with gold tuning machines and a gorgeous quilt pattern on the sides and back. (It’s the guitar he’s playing on the cover of his latest eponymous album.)

Willy couldn’t play as long as we wanted him to, because Opie Gone Bad was scheduled to play the same night. (We didn’t stay for the Opie show, so I can’t report on it.) However, he played many of the songs that he hasn’t always performed live in recent years, like “Watercolor,” “Jesus on the Grille,” and my personal favorite, “Angry Words.” To me, the high point of the night was when he was tuning up for “Angry Words,” with two capos on the fretboard at the second and fourth frets (one was a half capo.) Someone in the crowd yelled “Freebird” and Willy just grinned, then stepped up to the mike and proceeded to sing an operatic version of “Freebird,” accompanying himself on guitar in the strange capo configuration. The man obviously knows his fretboard. I hope to learn to play some of his music, and I hope to see him perform many more times.

Blogs, Bryant and Bands

I’ve been reading bluejack’s blog daily since I first heard about it. The more I read it, the more impressed I am by his page design. I’m considering altering this journal to a format more like his, with one daily entry per page and a link to recent entries. I’ll contact him today to see if he is okay with that. I’ll probably make some changes anyway, so if you see any links that aren’t working, please consider them to be works in progress.

Today is the Stories for All Seasons celebration of Ed Bryant’s 50-mumbleth birthday. Keith and I will be going there tonight to listen to him read stories from his (still) forthcoming collection, Flirting With Death, and he’s hinted in his Mathom newsletter that he will read a new science fiction story. That’s a treat, because he has been writing primarily horror for quite some time now.

I also heard from Brad the Drummer today that Dante Spumante may have gotten a Friday gig at Cricket on the Hill based on their (our?) performance on the 13th. I hope they call me to fill in again; I enjoyed playing that gig very much. I don’t know if this will be an original set or a cover set, but I’m hoping for an original set or a mix. That will increase my chances of getting a phone call from John.

John and Theresa from Dante Spumante will be playing at the Singer/Songwriter showcase at this year’s Taste of Colorado, on Sunday, September 1 at 2:00 PM. Go see them if you get the chance.

I also found out that Willy Porter, one of the most talented singer/songwriter/guitarists I’ve ever seen, will be playing in Ft. Collins and Denver on September 20th and 21st. Check his website for details. The Denver show will be at the Soiled Dove, downtown, which should be a great intimate venue for his music. I’m there. I hope I get to meet him.

This morning, I actually got up and exercised, then did some work on the computer for a little while. I’m trying to get into the routine that I told myself I would get into when I got the office set up. With my son starting school again next week, I have even more incentive, because we have to arrange our showering schedules. (That’s probably more information than any of you wanted to know!) The point is, I’m getting closer to writing in the mornings, like I wanted to do. I may make these entries part of that morning ritual, too.

At lunch today, I read some more of Sophie’s World, and passed a critical juncture in the story. The plot has thickened, as the saying goes. It’s pretty cool when I can say anything about plot in a novel that’s primarily a survey course in philosophy.